I have something else to add to my previous post about the Reformation. To deny the fruits of the Catholic Church, is to leave unaccounted for the lives of the saints. These are concrete and verifiable examples of Christ's charity, goodness, peace and power at work. A bad tree cannot bear the fruit of the Spirit. I remember learning about Maximilian Kolbe in the Protestant church where I grew up. Because of the animosity toward Catholics, no one could admit that he was a Catholic!
I have spent the past few days reading article after article spewing forth hatred of the Catholic church. I find myself mystified to read again and again the "tradition" that the Catholic church started to go wrong in 95 AD when Clement wrote about the Christian priesthood. Example after example of Church Fathers writing about priests and sacraments are explained away with a simple, "They were wrong." They require one to believe that the Holy Spirit stopped leading the church a few short years after He began, and picked back up again in the 16th century. So the people living 1500 years after the apostles understand their meanings better than the contemporaries and successors to the apostles themselves.
In college I had a history professor who pointed out that the Catholic Church kept Christianity alive during the Dark Ages and Middle Ages. Kept it alive a flourishing. And not just Christianity, but also kept alive what was good and true from the Ancients. Catholic Saints and Martyrs spread Christianity throughout the known world. They set up the libraries, hospitals, hotels, and schools. They kept Faith and Hope and Civilisation alive.
I'm not saying you need to bow down to every statue that produces tears, or you can buy your way into Heaven. I am saying, most earnestly, that the baby was thrown out with the bathwater. You cannot vilify Catholicism itself because there were human abuses here and there throughout the Church's 2,000 year history. Modern fans of the Reformation should look at the Church and its worship and beliefs and stop getting their information second hand from people who need to hate in order to justify their own theology.
Sermon over. Off soapbox. Will return to Homeschool and Cross Stitch.